2006 Vault Guide to Top Law Firms

The new 2006 Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms is just out.

This is not just a list of law firms, but there is superb commentary on the state of the legal world. Especially the growing role of China in the world is significant.

Here are a couple of samples from the Vault site and their “Read an excerpt from the Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms, 2006 Edition: Greed is good again”:

“Two superstars of the legal profession passed away in the spring of 2005, departing for the great courtroom in the sky. As different in style as chalk and cheese, Johnnie Cochran and Lloyd Cutler were nevertheless both bona fide legal celebrities, the flashy Cochran gaining fame for his defenses of O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson, and the patrician Cutler wielding his clout behind the scenes as a Washington powerbroker, including serving as advisor to six presidents….”

“Law firms are also expanding beyond national boundaries, opening 27 foreign offices in 2004. Ten of those were in China, where some 36 of the 250 biggest U.S. firms now have a presence. With China’s financial sector set to open fully to foreign entry by 2006 (a condition of its joining the WTO) and banking reforms paving the way for the advent of securitization there, financial services law firms like Cadwalader — which is gearing up to open a Chinese outpost — are especially keen on getting in on the ground floor of one of those shiny new Shanghai skyscrapers. Taiwan, meanwhile, is a hot destination for IP powerhouses such as Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and Shaw Pittman LLP, both of which have handled high-profile patent infringement suits against Taiwanese high-tech manufacturers. In an article in The Recorder, Orrick partner William Anthony Jr. called Silicon Valley, Taiwan and Shanghai “the new golden triangle” for IP tech groups.”

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Brilliance on the "Edge" of Knowledge

Here is a sample from Edge quoting GEORGE DYSON, science historian, and author of Darwin Among the Machines:

“As Richard Foreman so beautifully describes it, we’ve been pounded into instantly-available pancakes, becoming the unpredictable but statistically critical synapses in the whole Gödel-to-Google net. Does the resulting mind (as Richardson would have it) belong to us? Or does it belong to something else?

Is societal mens rea a collective experience? And what about individual culpability in a world ruled by bits and bytes? Are we all merely pancakes flattened by modern media?

You may rebel at the thought, but the rise of terrorism worldwide is a product of individuals succumbing irrationally to demonic collectivized thinking. To solve the problem, we have to change that collectivized mind. Concentrating on individuals will bring nothing.

The Best Expert Witnesses are …

Via the Stanford Lawyer of Spring, 2005,
we find in an article by Mandy Erickson titled “Biotech Patent Experts Gather at Law School“, p. 8,
that according to Sean Johnston (Stanford Law School, Class of 1989; VP of IP at Genentech):

“Probably the most powerful expert you can have is someone who was there doing the work in the field.”

Compare that in principle to this posting.

Advice to Future Law Students – Learn to Write

Martin E.P. Seligman’s Authentic Happiness recently had a mailing reporting on studies indicating that the best advice about a given matter was obtained from someone “who had been there”, even if this person were a stranger. Such advice was superior to other forms of information.

As a graduate of Stanford Law School (class of 1971), I regularly get the Stanford Lawyer, which I always read cover to cover, including the class notes of all graduated classes. This, I find, always gives me a sense of perspective about life because I am reading about successful people who “have been there” and who thus have valuable experiences to communicate to others.

The Spring 2005 issue of that Stanford Lawyer has an important piece of advice for future law students by William “Bill” Clarke Sanford, Jr., member of a dynasty of Sanford [not Stanford] lawyers in Reno, Nevada.

Joel H. Sharp, Jr., 1960 Stanford Law class correspondent remarks “How many of us agree with this!”, and quotes “Bill” as follows:

“[Bill’s advice to a grandchild thinking of studying law was to] “take all the courses you can in English. Learn to write. Too many people in the law have no idea how to articulate in writing.”

As someone who taught a law school course in Legal Writing for many years, I could not agree more.

John Roberts nominated for US Supreme Court position

John G. Roberts (see another bio here) has been nominated by President George W. Bush for the US Supreme Court position to be vacated by retiring US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

The stupidest thing that the Democratic Party could do would be to challenge this nomination. Roberts is a centrist with conservative leanings and is ideally suited for a Supreme Court position both by his superior legal record and by his young age. He is not a political radical of any kind and it is time that the Democratic Party start confirming judicial nominations which are beyond legal reproach. Just because a judge does not share Democratic Party opinions is no reason to withhold approval.

There may be times for partisan politics, but this judicial nomination is not one of them.

Typical for the partisan reporting on this matter are:

– this article by Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei at theWashington Post, which concentrates on irrelevant gossip rather than focusing on the nominee’s qualifications.

– this article by Liza Porteus at Fox News showing the political nature of judicial nominations.

CNN is somewhat better.

Better still is the Detroit News, which gives the original material of the White House webcast of the nomination.

The inevitable blog commentary is also well worth a read: see, for example

Al Nye the Lawyer Guy, who cites to Think Progress

The Supreme Court Nomination Blog

Campaign for the Supreme Court

Underneath Their Robes



Here is a posting that we find to be somewhat strange. Daily Kos writes:

“It does no one any good to be hysterical about Roberts from day one, when we truly don’t know who the guy is. We have hints here and there, and some of them are disturbing, but nothing to hang him on.

So we demand a full airing of his views and prepare for what might emerge. If we don’t like what we see, then whack. We let loose the artillery. There’s a time and place for everything.”

Surely, blogging should not be simple witch-hunting, which that statement portends. Many a competent judge or justice will have views that we do not agree with. Judges and Justices are not and should not be chosen simply because they are “yes men”. A popular blog such as Daily Kos should have “higher” ideals. Let’s all work to make the country and the world a better place, rather than seeing blogging as a place to “whack” our fellows and “loose the artillery”. We have enough war already.

Europe Says No to Software Patents

Florian Mueller of No Software Patents has an interesting take on the EU Parliament’s rejection of the proposed EU software patent directive at EUobserver.com: “The net said no to patent directive“.

Mueller observes that the pro-patent camp was extremely powerful politically and monetarily. But as Mueller writes:

“Still our side was ultimately able to win. David had a slingshot when he fought Goliath, the Gauls had the magic potion to beat the Romans to a pulp in the Asterix books, and we had the internet.

With the same resource disadvantage ten years ago, we would not have had a prayer.”

The law pundit has been aligned with the “no software patents” side for years (see the FFII) and is thus happy to be on the winning side on this one.

Mueller isolates the main argument that we always raised against software patents as follows:

“I always want to know that if I independently create a piece of software, I will surely be entitled to sell it.

The way the patent system works, that ownership (which most professions take for granted) is not guaranteed.

You can spend years on a project, but if somebody previously registered some key functionality at the patent office, then it does not count that you have actually not stolen anything. You are at the mercy of the patent holder, period.”

See in this connection some examples of “patented software“, or software patents generally.

Under existing copyright laws, you can still not “steal” software code, that is clear, but you can now program software freely and creatively [in the European Union] without worrying that some feature or method has been patented somewhere by someone at some time.

See in this regard our previous postings on software patents, e.g., FTC Report on Patents, AT&T eBay and PayPal, Amazon, Microsoft & Eolas 1, Microsoft and Eolas 2, USPTO and Eolas, overly broad patents, patents on spam technology, the patent invasion, etc.

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